Mick Devaney, driving for Ultimate Motorsport, today gave his team and the Mygale chassis their first victory in the British F3 International series, the first time in four years that anyone in anything other than a Dallara has won an F3 race in...
Mick Devaney, driving for Ultimate Motorsport, today gave his team and the Mygale chassis their first victory in the British F3 International series, the first time in four years that anyone in anything other than a Dallara has won an F3 race in this country. Behind him the Red Bull duo of Jaime Alguersuari and Brendon Hartley, both driving for Carlin Motorsport, briefly fought for second, the place going to the Spaniard in the end. In the National Class Jay Bridger (Fluid Motorsport) took his second victory of the season, while the category leader, Andy Meyrick (Carlin Motorsport) fought his way through from 5th to 2nd, ahead of Steven Guerrero (T-Sport).
It wasn't easy for Devaney but he made a good start and was in the lead by the time they reached the first corner. Nick Tandy (John Tandy Racing) on the other hand made a dreadful start and was swamped by Alguersuari and Hartley before he could react. Admittedly his start wasn't as bad as Max Chilton's, the Hitech Racing teenager simply failing to get away until everyone else had gone. His awful weekend wasn't improving any, it seemed. Mind you, Tandy's afternoon continued to go downhill as well, as Oliver Turvey (Carlin Motorsport) came through to take 4th place from the Mygale driver. Meanwhile, Bridger was leading the National Class, while the rest of the National Class lads were squabbling among themselves, with Callum McLeod (Litespeed F3) and Jordan Williams (Team Loctite) getting ahead of Kristjan Einar (Carlin Motorsport) at least temporarily. In contrast, Hywel Lloyd (CF Motorsport) was in the pits having the car worked on, while Henry Arundel (Double R Racing) was now last, which at least meant Chilton could say he was ahead of someone now after he'd stalled.
At the front Devaney was soaking up the pressure from Alguersuari, who certainly wasn't about to make it easy for the Ultimate driver. He was keeping a watching brief, hoping for a mistake from the Irishman. Devaney, however, seemed disinclined to oblige. As a result, Hartley was staying with them as well, but they were starting to pull out a massive gap over Turvey, who had Sergio Perez (T-Sport) on his tail now, after the Mexican disposed of Tandy as well. While Alguersuari was setting the fastest lap of the race in his pursuit of Devaney, Arundel trundled slowly into the pits for a brief spell. Meanwhile, the order seemed to be settled now, with Grubmuller up to 11th after he managed to pass the National Class leader, Bridger, the latter not interested in fighting with someone from another category.
The static nature of the race didn't stop Alguersuari from having a look, leaving his braking late so he could close right up on the leader. The trouble was he couldn't then translate that into a passing move, no matter what he tried. In the National Class there were changes afoot, however, with Meyrick closing on Guerrero for 2nd, though first he needed to pass John Martin (Double R Racing) and Philip Major (Fortec Motorsport) to get on terms with the Colombian youngster. He was assisted in his quest by Viktor Jensen (Nexa Racing) who was going backwards at this point. Meanwhile, Chilton was up to 21st but didn't seem as if he could expect to make much more progress judging by his general lack of speed today.
With less than half distance completed, it was suddenly all to play for. Perez, who came here with a healthy championship lead, suddenly dropped off the leader board, the Mugen-Honda engine having developed a misfire. He limped to a halt on the Revett Straight and into retirement. What it meant was that if they finished in the current order, Alguersuari would be 2 points behind Perez in the standings. If he could get ahead of Devaney, he would go into the afternoon's race as the points leader. It had to be an added incentive.
His cause wasn't helped any when the fastest lap (which carries an extra point) went to Marcus Eriksson (Fortec Motorsport) who was now trapped behind Turvey, and Sebastian Hohenthal (Fortec Motorsport) and trying to find a way past. His efforts saw him set a new lap record on the 14th lap of the race. Meanwhile, Tandy was holding up his own group, with Atte Mustonen (Double R Racing), Sam Abay (Carlin Motorsport), and Walter Grubmuller (Hitech Racing) all bottled up behind him.
It was now getting very strung out, with three main groups in the top ten, and the leading trio was starting to reel in the back-markers, starting with Lloyd who had rejoined the race after a long stay in the pits. On a track like this that had the potential to be a problem. However, they caught him at Russell, and he promptly moved out of the way when signaled to do so by the marshals. Meanwhile, Meyrick had found his way onto the tail of Guerrero and was in pursuit of that second place.
At the front the next problem for the leaders was likely to be Macleod and the SLC which seemed to be having teething troubles. However, before they could catch the newcomer he had pulled into the pits. In the National Class Meyrick managed to get the drop on Guerrero, while a little further up the order Grubmuller found his way past Abay for 9th. There was a bit of a reshuffle behind them too when Alistair Jackson (Ultimate Motorsport) picked his way past Guerrero who was now being harassed by Stefan Wilson (Fluid Motorsport) as well. For some reason, in the midst of all this, Chilton was stuck behind Major, only for the two of them to pass Wilson and push him back down.
Meanwhile, Turvey was getting a good view of the internecine Swedish scrap occurring in his mirrors (though he would probably have been better off not looking). It was starting to get quite fierce, with Ericsson trying all sorts to get ahead of Hohenthal. You really wouldn't think they were team-mates sometimes.
The only activity apart from that was now towards the back of the field, as Major fell back behind both Wilson and Salman Al Khalifa (T- Sport). The Canadian lacks experience, but he probably shouldn't be struggling this badly by this point in the season. There was a moment of drama as Arundel finally went off terminally, and the Safety Car was scrambled but not dispatched, to the relief of all. It wasn't the most interesting race ever, but it would be a shame if it had to end under the Safety Car. Although Devaney, Turvey and Tandy were all under such pressure from behind that they might have welcomed a breather. It was very close indeed at the front, and life didn't get any easier when the leading trio caught up with Einar. The marshals failed to show the Icelander the blue flags, and the result was that Hartley lost out slightly as they all tried to get past.
And in a final attack of derring do, Ericsson had one more go at Hohenthal, trying to squeeze through on the inside line at Russell. Hohenthal wasn't having it and he promptly slammed the door forcefully, holding onto his place all the way to the finish.
And so Devaney came home to a very popular win for both the Ultimate Team and the Mygale M-08F3. He was closely pursued to the flag by Alguersuari and Hartley, while Turvey crossed the line ahead of Hohenthal, Ericsson, Tandy, Mustonen, Grubmuller and Abay. 11th overall was the National Class winner, Bridger, who was followed home by Martin, Jackson, Meyrick (2nd in class), Guerrero, Chilton, Wilson, Al Khalifa, Major and Jensen. Einar was 21st ahead of a very distant Macleod who finished 4 laps down.
The fastest laps of the race (and a point apiece) went to Ericsson and Bridger.
Weather: Hot, sunny.